The Bombay High Court upheld reservation for Marathas in the State but quashed the 16% quota by calling it “not justifiable”. The court said it should not exceed 12% for education and 13% for jobs as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).
Details of decision
High Court held that the State possesses the legislative competence to enact the Maharashtra State Reservation for Seats for Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for appointments in the public services and posts under the State (for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) SEBC Act, 2018, and the State’s legislative competence is not in any way affected by the Constitution.
It is to be noted that after this judgement reservation quantum in the State has crossed 50%. The High Court held the report of the Gaikwad Commission has set out the ‘exceptional circumstances and extra-ordinary situations’ justifying crossing of the limit of 50% reservation as set out in the Indra Sawhney case (Supreme Court).”
Rationale given by High Court
The court recorded, “The 50% limit of reservation can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.”
The judgment said the classification of the Maratha class into “Socially and Educationally Backward Class” was justified.
The court held that the classification “complies with the twin test of reasonable classification permissible under Article 14 (equality before the law) of the Constitution of India, namely, intelligible differentia and rational nexus to the object sought to be achieved.”